The Question of Easter

Our normal Easter routines have been shattered. Instead of spending time with friends and family, maybe camping or travelling, we’re at home trying to contain a pandemic.

I’m wondering if having that extra time will allow us time to consider some of the bigger life questions.

This is a post that I repeat in the lead up to Easter most years. While most of us will still be talking about rabbits and chocolate I think it’s worth taking a little time to look at the true story of Easter. The closest most of us get to the original Easter story is eating hot cross buns.

The bigger story is about the barbaric killing of a man who many millions of people throughout history believe defeated death and walked out of his tomb some days later. That’s extraordinary. Could such a story really be true or has the legend of this man, Jesus, grown over time?

Whether you’re a believer, apathetic or completely opposed to the person of Jesus, you’ve got to admit that his very existence has shaped much of the world. Whether you think that’s a good or bad thing, it’s simply fact.

With that in mind we really should decide for ourselves who Jesus is or was.

There’s an interesting exchange in the Bible about this very thing.

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

I suppose that if we reset the scene in modern times it might look more like:

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

They replied, “Some say you’re a good man; others say a teacher; others say a religious leader; others say a misunderstood man; others say a fictional character; others say an irrelevant historical figure; others say a prophet; others say a bigot; and still others, that you’re a guy who gives us a couple of days off each Easter and at the end of December.”

Then comes the question that should be directed to each one of us.

“But what about you? Who do you say I am?”

Jesus was very wise in the way he asked his question. (After all, he is Jesus.) He says to his disciples, “Firstly let’s clear up what everyone else is saying about me.” It can be very easy for us to parrot someone else’s idea of who Jesus was or is. There are so many options that we can easily pick one that sounds reasonable to us.

But Jesus doesn’t give the disciples that option. After clearing up the range of things that others were saying, he focuses in on the individuals in front of him and says, “But What about you? Who do you say I am?”

I believe he’s doing the same today.

We need to be aware that there are many ideas of who Jesus is but in the end we need to answer that second question for ourselves.

Jesus looks at us all saying “But What about you? Who do you say I am?” Not who do your parents say I am; not who do your workmates say I am; not who does Richard Dawkins say I am; not who do your philosophy books say I am; not who does your pastor say I am; not who does your church say I am, but “Who do you say I am?”

Whether we say we believe the Bible’s idea of who Jesus is or not, we can’t afford to just grab someone else’s ideas on this one. We need to be open enough to have our views challenged. We need to look at how we came to hold the views we do and decide if that’s a good enough reason to think that way.

All the arguments about what people believe about Christians and their views are secondary and irrelevant until we decide what Jesus is about.

If we truly look at the evidence for ourselves and decide that Jesus was just a man we’ve got nothing to lose but if he was who the Bible claims and we don’t acknowledge it, our life could be at stake.

I’m siding with Peter on this one when he answered, “Who do you say I am?” with “The Christ of God.” Exactly what that means for me and the way I live my life is something that I will continue to grapple with for the rest of my life.

Who do you say Jesus is?

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading The Question of Easter? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.


It’s outrageous. People are furious. It’s all ruined. Life will never be the same.

Over the past week, I’ve seen a fair bit online about a certain chocolate company making changes to one of their offerings. They’ve changed the wrapping and some of the flavours in one of their assorted collections. Heresy. How can they be so cold to do such a thing just before Christmas?

I’m seeing words like ‘furious’, ‘outrage’, ‘horrible’, ‘atrocity’ and apparently customers have been thrown into a ‘frenzy’.


I love chocolate, I really, seriously do, but changing recipes and wrapping is not something that’ll raise my blood pressure. I might be a little disappointed when an old favourite is retired, but I won’t be firing off an angry missive to their customer service department.

What an incredibly privileged life we lead when altering a luxury item like chocolate causes us such concern.

Do you know what I find an outrage?

I find it outrageous that we’re discussing chocolate when more than 385 million children around the world have no idea when or if they’ll eat again. They are the ones who, through no fault of their own, are living in extreme poverty. They had no control over being born into poverty, just as most of us had no control over being born into a land of plenty and excess.

An ‘atrocity’ is when we care more for someone messing with our ‘entitlements’ than for those facing an uncertain future, those who daily stare death in the face.

There are many other situations in our world that should cause us concern and anger. Trafficking, slavery, domestic violence, our treatment of those seeking safety within our borders and so many more.

I’ll certainly be eating chocolate this Christmas, probably definitely more than I should, and I won’t be feeling guilty about it. I’m not for one moment suggesting that we don’t celebrate and celebrate well, but sometimes we need a little perspective to help us understand how incredibly blessed we are to be able to enjoy life’s luxuries.

This Christmas maybe we can reflect with gratitude on what an incredible life we have been gifted. But wouldn’t it be fitting that we also let the ‘outrage’ inside us grow and rise as we think about people around the world who face daily struggle to simply stay alive? I think it’s a mark of maturity when we can hold those two things in tension.

Enjoy the chocolate and all the other good things that come with the season, but please save your outrage for the true injustices in this world.

(If you’d like to make a difference for some of those facing an uncertain Christmas, why not buy a gift that will make a global difference through Gifts of Compassion. A small gift can make a big difference.)

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Outrageous? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

What do you want to believe?

EPSON DSC picture

After hearing a conversation on radio about whether coffee is good for us or not, someone responded saying, “Coffee is not healthy. It is a drug that you’re better off not consuming.” But then another listener responded by quoting a Life Hacker article titled The Science Behind Coffee and Why it’s Actually Good for Your Health.

The article explains that coffee can make you smarter, burns fat and improves physical performance, may drastically reduce your risk of Type II Diabetes, may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, may be extremely good for your liver, may reduce your risk of dying and is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Pretty compelling stuff.

Opinion is divided so we need to decide what we’ll believe. As a coffee drinker I’m going with the health benefits of my morning cuppa … or two.

McDonalds or Subway

We all know that when choosing fast food it’s best to go with a healthy option, such as Subway. Then we read an article like the recent piece Subway meals contain nearly as many calories, more salt than McDonald’s, UCLA study finds.

According to new research, the meals contain nearly as many calories and more salt than those in McDonald’s.

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles found that teenagers who bought Subway meals consumed almost the same calories – and more salt – those who ate a meal at McDonald’s, the Mail Online reports.

The study found eating at both restaurants is likely to lead to overeating and obesity.

The US research will come as a shock to those who consume Subway meals in the belief that they are choosing a healthier option.

So what do we believe?

If we prefer eating burgers and fries we may choose to take that research as evidence that we might as well be eating at McDonalds. On the other hand we may decide that all fast food is the same and so we won’t buy any at all. I would suggest that our menu choices at either outlet will determine how healthy the food is but sometimes we just latch on to the ‘evidence’ that suits us.

Red Wine and Chocolate

I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard opposing research telling me that red wine is very good for me, very bad for me, or neither. I’ve heard similar reports about the benefits or otherwise of chocolate.

I happen to enjoy red wine and chocolate so I can take the easy way out and just believe the research that says they’re good for me or I can weigh up the evidence and make an educated choice.

One thing I know for sure is that too much coffee, McDonalds, Subway, red wine and chocolate is not good for me but I think there’s more to be learned than just “everything in moderation”.

So what do you do when faced with differing opinions on what’s good for us and what’s bad for us? Do you throw your hands in the air and say, “I give up” or do you seek to make sense of the data from both sides of the debate?

I’d really be interested in your thoughts.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading What do you want to believe?? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

The demise of the Polly Waffle

PollyWaffle.jpgSurely this can’t be true. What a tragedy. After 62 delicious years the Polly Waffle will cease to exist. The announcement was made yesterday that the iconic Australian chocolate bar is going the way of the dodo due to poor sales.

For those outside Australia who have never tasted the delights of a Polly Waffle, it’s an Australian chocolate bar that is manufactured in Sydney, Australia by Nestlé. It consists of a waffle wafer tube filled with marshmallow and coated in chocolate.

Hoadley’s Chocolates made the first Polly Waffle bar in Melbourne with a number of company buy outs eventually bringing the Polly Waffle to Nestlé.

“It’s costing more to produce than what we get back in sales,” Nestlé’s Fran Hernon said, adding that it had been a difficult decision.

“Everybody says they love the Polly Waffle but the truth is no one buys it today. The time for it has been and gone.” –

We didn’t have a lot of chocolate bars when we were growing up but it was always a real treat when dad or mum brought home a Polly Waffle. There was always the big decision of whether to bite straight in or to try to prize the wafer tube apart to eat the marshmallow first. Whichever way you did it, they were always delicious.

I think I’ll have to buy a crate or two and slowly work my way through them for old time’s sake. It’ll be sad to see the old Polly Waffle go.

Have you ever had a Polly Waffle? When was the last time you had one? Will you be sad to see the Polly Waffle go?

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading The demise of the Polly Waffle? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Curry Killing Cancer

curry_spices.jpgDon’t you just love it when you find out something you enjoy is doing you good?

I’m always fascinated by the research that comes out every now and then to tell us that things like red wine and dark chocolate are good for your health. I fully embrace those findings.

I’ve had the privilege of visiting India a couple of times and have developed a great love of great curries but is curry good for us?

As you know, I spent all last week cycling for cancer on our ride from Perth to Albany. (By the way, you can still sponsor the ride with your donation to Cancer Council WA by going to the secure donations page.) Now a BBC News report is now telling us that curry can be a weapon in the fight against cancer.

An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

The chemical – curcumin – has long been thought to have healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia.

Now tests by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre show it can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab.

I know that curry isn’t the complete answer …. but until a complete answer is found I will dedicate the rest of my life to eating as much curry as I can.

Maybe our next ride for cancer can be in India.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Curry Killing Cancer? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.